Leinster see off Edinburgh
Contepomi leads Irish province to crucial win in Pool Six
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: 07/12/07 10:20pm
Contepomi: Man-of-the-match display
Felipe Contepomi's 18 points led Leinster to a 28-14 success over Edinburgh in Dublin on Friday evening.
Argentinean fly-half Contempomi scored the game-clinching try - Leinster's third - eight minutes from time and also booted three penalties and two conversions.
A bonus-point success looked on the cards for the hosts when tries from James Heaslip and Keith Gleeson helped them race into an 18-3 lead at half-time.
However, Edinburgh - who have yet to win in the Heineken Cup this season - got back in the game after the break with John Houston's try in the 45th minute.
And when substitute David Blair landed a long-range penalty in the 65th minute, the visitors had pulled back to 21-14 and appeared to have all the momentum.
But it was Contepomi who proved the match-winner when he crossed in the 72nd minute and added the conversion to seal the win for Leinster.
Inside the opening minute, the video referee ruled that Leinster full-back Rob Kearney did not have full control when he attempted to touch down after beating Mike Blair in a race to the line for Shane Horgan's kick.
Opposing stand-offs Contepomi and Phil Godman traded early penalties but it was Leinster, with a strong wind aiding their cause, who dominated possession and territory during the opening stages.
The pressure eventually resulted in a try for the hosts after 15 minutes. A rolling maul was stopped just short but, from the next phase, No.8 Heaslip forced his way over from close range. Contepomi added the conversion for a 10-3 lead.
That was extended to 13-3 on 28 minutes with Contepomi's second penalty after Blair was penalised for entering at the side of a ruck in an effort to stall a promising Leinster attack.
And the hosts' second try arrived four minutes later when openside flanker Gleeson finished off a scintillating move in the right corner from an attack that began at a lineout on the opposite side of the field.
Contepomi failed with the touchline conversion attempt and Edinburgh held their deficit to 18-3 at half-time.
No problem for Houston
Edinburgh required a quick start to the second half and got just that when left winger Houston raced over for their first try on 45 minutes.
But Leinster retained an 18-8 advantage when Godman - who moments earlier had hooked a penalty attempt wide - was off-target with the conversion.
Edinburgh replacement Callum MacRae was then dispatched to the sin bin by referee Romain Poite after killing the ball in front of his own posts after Leinster hooker Bernhard Jackman was stopped just short.
Contepomi added the simple three points that set-up the perfect opportunity to go to work on Edinburgh's 14 remaining men. However, the Scottish side defied their numerical disadvantage with a penalty from Godman in the 58th minute.
And Godman's replacement David Blair - the younger brother of skipper and scrum-half Mike - landed another three points from long range in the 65th minute. At that point Edinburgh were 21-14 behind and looked capable of pulling off a shock result.
But Leinster's forwards regained control - prop Ollie Le Roux was stopped inches short and Heaslip knocked on as he attempted to force his way over.
The pressure finally told in the 72nd minute when Contepomi took the ball on a great angle and had enough pace to get himself across the whitewash.
He then added the conversion to cap a superb individual display and ensure his side remain in contention to reach the knockout phase.
The result moves Leinster to within one point of Toulouse at the top of Pool Six, although the French side have the opportunity to extend their advantage when they play Leicester at Welford Road on Saturday.